Australia shares rise near 17-mth high led by resource sector

Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:27am EST

(Updates to close)
    CANBERRA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares neared a
17-month high on Wednesday, as the resource sector rose on
higher commodities prices.
    Top miner BHP Billiton Ltd climbed almost 1 percent
after it said it would sell its interest in the Browse liquefied
natural gas project to PetroChina International Investment
(Australia) Pty Ltd for $1.63 billion.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index rose inched up 0.2 percent, or
7.8 points, to 4,583.8, extending gains into a fourth straight
session. The benchmark climbed 0.4 percent to a seven-week high
on Tuesday.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was down 0.8
percent at 3,995.3.

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Simon